Since 2000, speculative fiction in Anglophone literatures has increasingly focused on the future of the West and the manifold dangers it entails, such as climate change, genetic engineering or nuclear catastrophe. Literary texts which show the decline of the West as the globally dominant cultural and economic force combine a biting critique of capitalism with an imaginative framework of a future world, and they can be viewed as a literary counter-discourse that defies hegemonic Western self-perceptions rooted in ethnocentrism and an unquestioned affirmation of capitalism. This article aims to analyse the position of the West in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (2004), Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) and Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood (2009). It will reveal patterns in the narration of the downfall of the West, exploring, in particular, the way in which cannibalism is employed in all three texts as a signifier of the West’s decline. It will also investigate how these texts construct the dissolution of the West on the level of narrative structure and language.
Othering, Reification, Commodification and the New Literatures and Cultures in English
Edited by Rainer Emig and Oliver Lindner
The contributions in this volume, in their various ways, take a critical look at artistic responses to the commodification of colonial and postcolonial histories, peoples, and products from the eighteenth century to the present. They explore, in particular, what literary and cultural texts have to say about commodification after the end of colonialism and how the Western culture industry continually capitalizes on representations of the postcolonial Other.
Contributors: Samy Azouz, Lars Eckstein, Rainer Emig, Wolfgang Funk, Jens Martin Gurr, Birte Heidemann, Sissy Helff, Graham Huggan, Stephan Laqué, Oliver Lindner, Ana Cristina Mendes, Sabine Nunius, Carl Plasa, Katharina Rennhak, Ksenia Robbe, Cecile Sandten.
Edited by Oliver Lindner and Ralf Schneider
This collection of articles brings together a wide variety of topics, such as the 2011 London riots, the London Olympics of 2012, royal festivities, the Tube anniversary, memorials, and London in recent novels and blockbuster films. The contributions look at the way in which cultural and literary texts articulate competing versions of the contemporary city, oscillating between either supporting or subverting the hegemonic narrative of London as a place of cosmopolitan harmony and inclusion.